Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: getting it right. Does optimal management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease alter disease progression and improve survival?
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We live in a world where people live longer lives. The standardized mortality rate for many diseases is decreasing. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not following this trend. Over the last 10 years, interventions for COPD have been developed, but have any changed the prognosis or trajectory of this modern epidemic? We review the most recent and classical literature in order to answer this question. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent analyses of data have clarified which interventions are effective in COPD and which are not. New studies have defined what is achievable with the current therapies. Only two interventions have been demonstrated to improve survival: smoking cessation and long-term oxygen therapy. Other treatments do reduce exacerbations, improve lung function and improve the patient's quality of life, but do not affect physiological disease progression or mortality. SUMMARY: There is much work to do, not only to improve the treatments we have for this disease, but also to diagnose it early, intervene at the right time, reduce the treatment side-effects and most importantly understand the pathophysiology better. Moreover, we are duty bound to look at each patient and review what we are trying to achieve for each one through appropriate phenotyping as well as sometimes taking a more palliative approach.